EARLY GREEK THINKING


Rather we may surmise something else: that we know too much and believe too readily ever to feel at home in a questioning which is powerfully experienced. For that we need the ability to wonder at what is simple, and to take up that wonder as our abode.

Of course, "simple" assertion and repetition that the literal meaning of άληθεσία. is "unconcealment" will not give us what is simple. Unconcealment is the chief characteristic of that which has already come forward into appearance and has left concealment behind. That is the significance here of the α-, which only came to be classified as the alpha-privative by a grammar based upon later Greek thought. The connection with λήθη, concealment, and concealment itself do not diminish in importance for our thinking simply because the unconcealed is immediately experienced only as what has come forward in appearance, or what is present.

Wonder first begins with the question, "What does all this mean and how could it happen?" How can we arrive at such a beginning? Perhaps by abandoning ourselves to a wonder which is on the lookout for what we call lighting and unconcealing?

Thoughtful wonder speaks in questioning. Heraclitus says:

το μή δῦνόν ποτε πώς αν τις λάθοι;

How can one hide himself before that which never sets?

(Diels-Kranz)

The saying is numbered as Fragment 16. But because of its inner significance and ultimate implications, perhaps we ought to consider it the first. Heraclitus' saying is quoted by Clement of Alexandria in his Paidagogos (Bk. III, chap. 10) to support a theological-educational position. He writes:

λήσεται (!) μέν γάρ ϊσως τό αίσθητόν φώς τις, τό δέ νοητον άδύνατόν ἔστιν, ή ώς φησιν Ήράκλειτος ...

"Perhaps one can hide from the light perceived by the senses, but it is impossible to do so before spiritual light, as Heraclitus says. . . . " Clement is thinking about the ever-present God who sees everything, even the sin committed in darkness.


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